Land Not Enough To Lift Razorbacks

FAYETTEVILLE --Lee Land gave Arkansas a chance to get back in the game Tuesday against Missouri State.

Unfortunately for Arkansas, once Land left, the Bears started scoring again.

Missouri State scored six runs in the first and added four insurance runs over the last two innings to beat the Razorbacks 10-5 in front of 4,147 at Baum Stadium.

The loss snapped Arkansas' 23-game nonconference home winning streak.

Arkansas' last nonconference loss at home came April 13, 2004, when Oral Roberts beat the Razorbacks 6-4 at Baum Stadium. Missouri State (then Southwest Missouri State) beat the Razorbacks at home a week before that.

The teams will play again next Tuesday in Springfield, Mo. In between, the Razorbacks (23-7) will spend the weekend playing at No. 16 Vanderbilt.

Missouri State (16-9) has won six consecutive games.

After starter James Gilbert (2-1) was roughed up for six runs in the first inning, Land entered and Missouri State's bats disappeared.

Land retired the first 20 batters he faced before hitting Matt Lawson to lead off the eighth.

"I felt good," Land said. "It had been a couple weeks, but I've been getting my work done and just waiting my turn.

"I had a good break on my curveball and had a little velocity on my fastball and spotted them both pretty well."

He hadn't thrown since going five innings in relief against Centenary on March 22.

"Early he left some pitches up and got away with them, then he got it going and had some quick innings," Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said.

The sophomore right-hander left the game to a standing ovation after starting the next batter, Adam Pummill, out with two straight balls.

But once Land left, Missouri State scratched out three more runs in the inning on just one hit to extend the lead and Arkansas never seriously threatened to score again.

"We were fortunate, we got out to a big lead," said Missouri State coach Keith Guttin. "Land came in and did a great job for them. You know (Bears starting pitcher Jake) Shafer pitched well for us.

"It was obviously getting a little tight there and we were able to pick up some runs late."

Shafer (2-1) pitched five innings, giving up five runs to pick up the win. Matt Frevert came on to pitch the last four innings to pick up his second save. The two combined to strike out 11 Razorbacks.

"You only get 27 outs," Van Horn said. "That's way too many (strikeouts) in a midweek game. If you're facing a guy like (Vanderbilt's David) Price who we face Friday, you might expect that a little bit, but you go into midweek games where you're going to be facing middle relievers and maybe a spot starter, you need to put the bat on the ball.

The Razorbacks' best chance to tie came in the seventh when Clint Arnold led off with a double but was caught stealing to end the threat.

"Ball's in the dirt and it's sitting right in front of that catcher and he's already there; he's already in scoring position," Van Horn said. "He put his head down and ran. Take your time, see the play, go on back, no problem. We practice it and he made a mistake."

Jake Dugger hit a home run for the third straight game, with a two-run shot in the fifth. Logan Forsythe added a solo shot the next inning to pull Arkansas within one, 6-5.

Arkansas quickly found itself in a hole after the first three Missouri State batters reached base. After Gilbert struck out Tim Rafferty, three straight Bears batters delivered two-run hits, capped by Braydon Drake's home run that drove Gilbert form the game.

With a 1-2 count to Drake in the seventh, Land rolled his ankle after planting. After throwing Drake a ball, Land went down behind the mound, drawing the trainer from the Arkansas dugout.

Land needed two practice pitches to determine if he would be able to continue, the first going well over catcher Blake Parker's head.

But Land stayed in the game and struck out Drake and the next better before getting Tanner Mattson to line out to center to complete six straight 1-2-3 inning.

On the pitch where he got hurt, Land overstrided, hitting a small mound between the hole that he was landing in and the one Missouri State's pitchers were hitting.

"I guess my stride was off on the one pitch and it just rolled it," Land said. "An old basketball injury didn't make it better. I've twisted it a number of times."

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